1914’s Trench-Clearing Death Metal Exists “Where Fear and Weapons Meet” (Early Album Stream + Interview)
Ready to add more recruits to their oppressive ranks, death metallers 1914 return to the front lines with another slow-marching offensive. This militia, influenced by the Great War, draw comparisons to Bolt Thrower’s tales of historical conflict by way of Marduk’s blackened sensibilities, burning their dirge-like death metal to crispy perfection. Where Fear and Weapons Meet is this Ukrainian band’s third proper foray into battle and it wouldn’t be their signature sound if not for various audio samples taken from various pieces of historically relevant media as well as the band’s deeper understanding of the events that took place over 100 years ago.
In comparison to the band’s previous album The Blind Leading The Blind, Where Fear and Weapons Meet is a bit more about the horrors of war, but also living to tell the tale. Listeners will learn a bit more about the themes below, which describe things like the events that befell Filip Konowal of the Russian Empire (present day Ukraine and 1914’s homeland), the only Eastern European who was awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest honor that could have been bestowed upon by the British Honours’ System due to his allegiances to Canada. All of these fascinating historical elements go hand in hand with 1914’s incredible attention to detail within their exacting assault. While the band goes full bore into battle, there is substance to these skirmishes.
Below, we're streaming Where Fear and Weapons Meet in full ahead of tomorrow's release, plus an interview with the band. There's just enough time to put together armaments and set up camp before the true battle starts at next sunrise.
How did the songwriting process work this time around compared to your previous albums?
We started actively working on it at the end of 2020, literally at the end of November. Before that, the whole year of 2020 was very difficult, everyone was busy with their affairs, health, survival, etc. And that did very negative impact on the creativity. So in the winter of 2021 we actually created the whole album, in March we practiced it on rehearsals and recorded it in April. In fact, everything was created in 3-4 months of active and complex work.
How did the pandemic impact Where Fear and Weapons Meet?
Well, I indirectly answered this question above. The pandemic stopped all concerts for two years. Tours. Festivals. This is the first time in my life as a musician to not have a single show in two years. Moreover, Ukraine is not the most stable and wealthy country. It is difficult to experience such shocks here, financially, emotionally. You are constantly worried about yourself, your loved ones, thinking about where to get money, how to feed a child, you sit at your main job all day and only in the evenings if you still have the strength, you make music. I can't say that this is very easy and inspiring.
But we had hope and an irresistible desire, we sat up all night assembling the riffs, melodies, we sacrificed time with families and children to do a new thing. Looks like it was not in vain.
How do you go about choosing the audio samples for each track and album in general?
When I hear something that has already been completed musically, I have a vision of a certain sample, speech or intro, which completes it 100%, summarizes what is happening in the track, becomes part of the song itself. I don't use them in every track, just to cover everything that is possible with samples. No, every sample or intro is in its place in terms of meaning and message. If it's not there, then I don't see anything else there. That's all. This is not about arranging but about the atmosphere and meaning.
What has changed for the band since the release of The Blind Leading The Blind?
Actually, a lot has changed since that release. We have signed a deal with the Napalm Records label and a new booking agency – that opened us to a world a bit more, we started to have more attention from media, more fans became aware of our music and started visiting our shows, we travelled and played much more than before, I’d say that The Blind Leading The Blind was a life changer for the band
Why is World War I the central theme of the lyrics? How do you pick apart a major conflict such as that and focus on smaller elements?
This totally comes from our singer, who is greatly passionate with the WW1 period and its events. As the person who plays music for over a 20 years and is involved in a war archaeology for 15+ years that was pretty obvious choice There were some specific songs about the Great War in bands our singer played in the past, he even had a martial \ noise \ industrial project where they made a full album about the Great War in 2011, but such a massive topic deserved a complete dedication and that is how the band was formed.
Is there a story around the album artwork for Where Fear and Weapons Meet?
The album artwork just continues and highlights the main topic of this album – hope, and a will to live. Unlikely the previous recordings, the majority of the characters on Where Fear and Weapons Meet stay alive and come back to their homes as a heroes: Filip Konowal, Canadian-Ukrainian soldier who distinguished himself during the battle and was honored by the Crown, Belgian armored division, who fought in Galizia and had to do around-the-world trip to get back home, etc. The stories on the previous albums tell us mostly about death and despair, and here on the album cover we may see a wounded soldier who raises his hand to Death begging for relief, but Death doesn’t want him, he deserves to live.
Is Death's role different in the artwork serving a different role than in the past? If so, what exactly?
Yeah, I just mentioned that in the previous question, will to live and hope – this is what we need in such hard times.
What are 5 albums that inspired your sound?
I wouldn’t say I tend to sound like something else, it is much more as you pick up the different instrument, different piece of gear, an amp, the cab, microphones that you like at current point in time and see how it goes with the recording, what would you have after the tracks are done. But if we speak about long time influences I would say these are: Hypocrisy – The Arrival, Death – Symbolic, Dies Irae – The Sculpture of Stone, At The Gates – At War With Reality, Dark Tranquillity – Fiction.
What albums are you guys listening to now? Anything from 2021 that we may have missed?
I don’t listen to a lot of music these days, I’ve got that ‘music oversaturation’ while working on the album and now just listen to radio while driving or to some random tracks of my ‘best of all years’ gym playlist containing the tracks of my favorite bands like Paradise Lost, DT, Wolfheart, In Flames, At the Gates, Insomnium and others in the similar genre.
Anything else you would like to add?
Thanks for the interview! Have a great day!
Where Fear and Weapons Meet releases October 22nd via Napalm Records.